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The lost cities of the Nigerien Sahara


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Generations of travelers have stood before the "ksars" of Djado, wondering at their crenelated walls, watchtowers, secretive passages and wells, all of them testifying to a skilled but unknown hand.

Who chose to build this outpost in a scorched and desolate region — and why they built it — are questions that have never been fully answered.

And just as beguiling is why it was abandoned.




Edited by Eldorado
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So, a thread that honestly fits the purpose of this magnificent website, and ZERO posts after 13 hours?

Maybe Saru should change the site name to "Religious and Political Bickering"... That's what mostly goes on here it seems.

I'm going to spend some time looking into this historically interesting subject, and I'll post again with what I find. Post here like the site originally intended.

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These ruins are around 800 to 1000 years old, and come from a time when this part of the Sahara was much wetter, forested and fertile. We know something of the people who lived here in the more recent past. But who built it, we cannot say.


The Kanuri are a remnant of the great Kanem empire, a great civilization who ruled the central Sahara from around 700 to 1300 AD. It could be that this civilization built the fortified city of Djado.

Very interesting. It really is out in the middle of nowhere...


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First thing to consider is that the climate/environment has very likely changed since these cities were built - what is today desert may not have been 1,000 years ago (even within the past 100 years the area of desertification has grown considerable - see for example reduced rainfall and abandoned settlements in Mauritania, near the Richat structure).

Also, desert areas were (and still are) important for salt.    So immediate thought (without reading anything at all about these cities - that I was previously unaware of) is that they could have once been important trading centres?

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